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Arms Laws in India

Updated: Oct 8, 2020

In India to buy and keep a gun is next to impossible, the reason might be the distrust of the government onto the citizens. The Arms Act, 1959 supplemented with the Arms Rules, 1962 makes the procedure to procure a weapon legally, very stringent. The Arms act was the result of the first biggest rebellion i.e. The Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, which was highly supplied with the illegal and unauthorised British guns and rifles. Although the rebellion was a failure and the Britishers manages to suppress the rebellion but this rebellion established a fear in the minds of the Britishers about the ned of their colonial era in India and hence the britishers introduced a law under the tenure of Viceroy Lord Lytton, The Arms Act, 1878. The Arms Act 1878 was to prevent the the common people from procuring guns and rifles of description without the permission of the Crown. The Arms Act, 1878 was unchanged till 1959 and then after independence in1959, the Indian Government repealed the Act of 1978 and introduced the new Arms Act, 1959. The only things that was changed in the new act was the permission granting authority. The government of the republic India was also not having the faith on the citizens thats the reason they adopted the British edition of Arms Act. The Arms Act, 1959 is supplemented with The Arms Rule, 1962 both together make restrictions on acquisition, possession, sale, manufacture, import, export and transport of arms without license1. The Arms Act, 1959 firearms into two categories two category: 1. Prohibited Bore- It include semi automatic, fully automatic guns, caliber .303 rifles, handguns of caliber .38, .455 and 9mm pistol. 2. Non Prohibited Bore- It includes handguns of caliber .35, .32, .22 and .380. The chapter I and III of the Arms Act, 1959 details about there procedure of application for possession of Firearms. Although there is no way through which a common man can apply for the possession of Prohibited Bore weapons as it is only available for the people who have “grave and imminent threat” to their lives or who live in terrorist- prone areas, or government officials who have made themselves targets in front of terrorists by nature of their job, or MLAs or MPs or of citizens associated with anti- terrorist programmes or their family numbers. The above mentioned people also didn't get the opportunity to possess all the prohibited bore firearm, they just get only those which the government notifies in their Official Gazette and only the central government has the power to issue the license for Prohibited Bore. The Non Prohibited Bore is available for every citizens but who gets its their luck. The laws relating to firearms are very stringent and to get a gun you need a license beforehand and getting a license is tough task. You can get a gun only for three purpose : 1. For the purpose of sports

2. For the purpose of crop protection 3. For the purpose of self defence For applying for a firearm license a person need to be minimum 21 years old and must not have any criminal history. There is also a phase of police verification in which the police officials checks the mental health, physical health and the behaviour towards others for that they also conducts a in camera interview of family, close friends and neighbours. The recorded interview are then forwarded to the Crime Branch and National Crime Record Bureau for record keeping, then they grant the approval for arm license.


After getting the approval the applicant has to undergo a mandatory course for handling, safe firing, transporting and others things required for safety management of firearms.

The whole process of procuring gun is very hectic and its impossible for the common people to possess a gun legally, although the reason for declining a firearm license application is notes down and kept in record but still this Arms Act, 1959 provides arbitrary powers to the license giving authority. The Arms Act, 1959 was was originally drafted by the britishers to stop the rebellion for the Nation and the Indian Government adopted this act to stop the rebellion against the Nation.


- LEGAL HUMMING

(AKSHIT CHAUHAN CO-AUTHOR)